Change Your Dietary Habits to Relieve Back Pain

Do you think what are you eating may contribute to increase your back pain? Yes, it may cause problem. Many types of food either increase or decrease inflammation in the muscles and tissues of the body including back and that is the main cause of pain. So if you are suffering from a backache, you can reduce it by changing your dietary habits.

Add more vegetables to your diet plan to reduce back pain

Using a plant-based diet is the best thing to avoid swelling or inflammation, especially when used with omega-3 rich meals like salmon fish and other cold water fishes like sardines, herring, tuna, black cod, trout and mackerel. Deep coloured vegetables and fruits are the main part of diet having anti-inflammatory properties. Carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, cherries, grapes, berries, red wine, pomegranate and watermelon are the types of food which are nutrition rich and reduce inflammation thus reducing back pain. Herbs, as well as spices, i.e. cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, basil, garlic, curcumin, turmeric, oregano, onions, and some other types, are specifically rich in anti-inflammatory substances thus they play the key role in reducing low back pain. You should take plenty of these foods to reduce or avoid your back pain. You can also take herb tea instead of traditional types of teas.

According to a study, bright coloured vegetables and fruits, olive oil and green tea are involved in reducing the inflammatory process in the cartilages of the vertebral column or spine which relieves back pain and stiffness. The greener the vegetable, the better it is for back pain. It is said that spinach, broccoli and kale are at the top of the list having back pain fighting properties with the anti-inflammatory process.

Other good food groups are nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts), lean proteins (chicken and turkey), cocoa, beans and avocados.

Can dietary factor cause back pain?

Researches indicate that a diet high in sugar and processed food cause swelling or inflammation in the body that results in the breakdown of inner cushion-like part of the intervertebral disc which is present between each vertebra in the spine. Thus, severe pain and other abnormalities of the spine occur. Such type of food is also associated with the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus which also results in changes in the spine leading to a backache.

Poor diet damages some types of essential molecules in the body. Some researches show that the food rich in heat processed food including deep fried food causes the formation of AGE. AGEs are proteins or lipids or fat-like substances that are coated in sugars and damage their structure and function. If AGEs are overproduced, they cause the tissue damage in all the body including back, and thus backache occurs. Disc inflammation and disc degeneration occur leading to other degenerative disorders like arthritis, atherosclerosis etc. Which are also risk factors for back pain?

Pro-inflammatory food groups cause back pain

If you are suffering from active back pain, it is mandatory to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory foods that you eat. Things which are to be abandoned are

  • Red meat
  • Foods which are highly processed and meals with added sugars
  • White bread, rice and pasta
  • Whole fat dairy products
  • Sugar-containing snacks and drinks
  • Fried meal

Which type of food you must eat to reduce your back pain

By decreasing the intake of pro-inflammatory food and taking those meals which counteract or decrease swelling, you will feel relief in your back pain and improvement in your general health. The foods which counteract against inflammation are those who have a high amount of antioxidants, unsaturated fats and lean type of proteins. Meals that contain these qualities are present in the Mediterranean diet, which contains plenty of fish, fruit, whole grains, olive oil and raw vegetables. You must include the following types of food in your daily meal.

  • Tuna and salmon fish are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. You must include two or three servings of omega-3 fatty acids rich fish in each week.
  • Beans, (e.g. kidney beans) , grains, seeds, pulses and nuts must be part and parcel of your daily food.
  • Eggs and poultry may be taken after every one day. There is no issue if the chicken is cooked with skin on but must be removed before eating.
  • You must limit your meat intake to only once a week.
  • You may take red wine. One glass per day provides a healthy amount of antioxidants.

What is the role of fibre in back pain?

Eating more fibre containing food helps to relieve your back pain because it boosts your GIT and provides digestive health. Constipation worsens the back pain and causes other problems of the back. Fibre reduces constipation and thus reduces the risk of back problems.

Raw vegetables and fruits are the best food sources of fibres. They improve your gut function, lower the amount of cholesterol and decrease the risk of backache.

Potassium-containing foods also decrease inflammation and strengthen your muscle and nerve functions. Muscles of the back are also become stronger providing more support. Thus back pain is reduced.

Bananas, coconut and avocados are the best sources of this mineral.


What is the role of water in back pain?

If you drink plenty of water, most probably you are in a good hemodynamic state, and you save yourself from a variety of upcoming disorders. If you do not drink the required amount of water, your body is dehydrated.

Dehydration also affects the intervertebral discs which are cracked if the condition is severe. Also, the adequate amount of water in the body maintains the blood pressure, improve the process of digestion and reduces muscle spasm.

Every adult person must drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day.


Why back pain occurs after eating?

Back pain which occurs after eating is mostly a referred pain. A referred pain is the pain in which abnormality is in one part of the body, but the pain is felt in any other part of the body due to common nerve supply. Many conditions can cause back pain after taking a meal, ranging from benign conditions such as poor posture to a serious condition such as ulcers. Following conditions cause a backache after eating

  • Allergies and intolerance to certain foods cause inflammation after eating food, and you feel pain which is referred to the back. Foods that usually have allergic potential are dairy, gluten, alcohol, peanuts and sugar.
  • Gallbladder inflammation and gallstones. Inflammation of gallbladder can occur due to gallstones or infection or any other cause. Eating fatty food triggers this condition. Typically pain of gallbladder is felt in the upper abdomen which is radiated to the back.
  • Heart attack. Typically heart attack presents with substernal chest pain radiating to the arm or jaw. But the sometimes atypical type of heart attack may also occur especially in the women in which the patient also feels back pain, the pressure in the upper back and dizziness.
  • Heartburn. Back pain after eating may also occur due to heartburn. Heartburn is a digestive disorder in which burning pain is felt in the chest. Sometimes this pain radiates to the back. Foods that predispose to this condition are alcohol, chocolate, spicy food, tomatoes and caffeine.
  • Kidney infection can also cause backache. It also causes fever, abdominal pain and blood in the urine.
  • Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Its pain is also referred to the back and is aggravated by eating food.

Treatment of back pain due to dietary habits

If your back pain is related to dietary habits, you must remove the triggering foods from your daily meals. Commonly triggering foods are alcohol, beans, gluten, caffeine, chocolate, peanuts, spicy and sugary foods. You must avoid these types of foods.


Commonly used painkillers are acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. They relieve the acute back pain.

Proton pump inhibitors and antacids help to treat ulcers, GERD and heartburn. Use them if you have gut-related problems.

NOTE: Do not use any medicine without consulting your doctor.

Other options

Physical therapy and exercise are also carried out for pain relief. Do these modalities with the advice of your doctor.

If you want to avoid the unwanted affects of medicines, click here to learn how to get pain relief without using any medicine.